Finding Balance: Volunteering for Young Professionals

by Ad 2 Tampa Bay | February 18, 2015

The start of a person’s career can be exhilarating. As young professionals, we want to learn everything there is to learn, perfect our trade, and get involved as much as we can to make an impact on the industry.  For some of us, this may mean joining an association, going to networking events, serving on a Non Profit board, or even volunteering in the community.

If you’re reading this and you’ve just started your career, you’re probably thinking I am crazy and that there’s no time for volunteering. There is time and I’m not crazy.

Juggling your career and your volunteer time can be difficult when you are just learning the ropes of the industry. Yes, volunteering can mean long nights but it has its benefits. For the 20-something millennial, volunteering can be especially valuable because it can help you build your resume. If you choose the right organization, there are opportunities for you to evolve your skill set and experience in the industry. It can also help you build your network of connections.

Volunteering can also help you develop personally and can be a very rewarding experience. Through my own experience, I have gained a new appreciation for what it means to work with a Non Profit and how to manage my career.

Here is what I’ve learned:

  1. Be realistic. We’re young and we want to make an impact, meet fabulous people, and put the skills we’ve learned in school to use. However, it is important to be mindful of the responsibilities at the office. Before making a commitment, ask yourself “how much time can I invest without dropping the ball in other areas?”
  2. Be organized. Often times volunteering can mean lots of research, paperwork, files, and emails. To keep your productivity levels high make sure to keep everything highly organized so they are readily available when you need them. There’s nothing worse than when you misplace a document – Don’t let that happen to you!
  3. Keep the momentum. Collaborate! Stay engaged by meeting frequently with those that are directly involved. This helps to keep your creativity alive and your ideas flowing. It helps to plan meetings around your work schedule, such as early morning, lunch or evenings. 

Finding the time is challenging, but it can be done.

By volunteering, there is a chance for you to develop professionally, enrich your own life and the life of someone else.

Kaylee Poplawski | Public Service Account Director